Counterfeit goods worth Kshs 100 million have been destroyed in Changamwe, Mombasa County by a multi-agency team, comprising government agencies and intellectual property owners to curb the illicit trade.
Speaking during the exercise conducted Monday, the Chairperson of Anti Counterfeit Authority, Florah Mutahi said among the counterfeits destroyed included goods meant for the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, valued at Kshs. 25 million confiscated from unscrupulous traders.
The ACA chairperson observed a study carried out recently revealed that electrical goods account for the bigger percentage of counterfeits into the country.
Other contrabands included cables, shoes, clothes, stationery, construction materials, and chemicals, among others.
She observed that the destruction exercise was showcasing that the government is working towards zero tolerance to counterfeits and illegal goods altogether.
“We are here to make sure the goods that have been condemned as counterfeits are destroyed in an environmentally safe destruction unit, where they destroy all counterfeits following all the environmental regulations to make sure Kenya remains counterfeits free,” said Mutai.
The intellectual property owners drawn from different countries including South Africa witnessed the destruction to discourage the trade of the goods a move that would ensure nothing goes back to the market for the unsuspecting public since they pose safety threats since they have not been certified by any standardization body.
Mutai said manufacturing is one of the Big Four agendas which is supposed to contribute 15 percent of the country’s GDP, noting the unfortunate trend, where counterfeits contribute more than local manufacturing industries.
Mutahi reiterated the government is serious about manufacturing, thus the push to have zero tolerance to counterfeits to discourage the illegal trade and to ensure it doesn’t happen.
She said counterfeit goods worth Kshs. 125 billion have been destroyed since the formation of the multi-agency team in 2018, compared to the Kshs. 1.4 billion in the previous five years before its formation.
It is estimated that Kenya had been losing over 1700 jobs annually to counterfeiting with manufacturers losing 40% of their market share to fake products.
Coast Regional Commissioner, John Elungata reiterated that security agencies in the coast region are committed to eliminating the importation of counterfeits through the borders and the ports.
“Kenya should not be the home of the people who steal other people’s intellectual property, giving the brand a bad name and destroying the economy of the producing countries as well as our own economy,” he lamented
He said the multi-agency team led by Wanyama Musiambo, who was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta is geared towards eliminating all counterfeit goods at Kenya’s Indian Ocean exit and entry point, including airports.